40 Ideas - Number 4 - Straw Monsters!

Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com!  

Today's activity comes from Danett who blogs over at Art Lovin!

Another fun activity that I know my boys will love...in fact, I can totally see Moses taking this a step further and cutting them out, gluing them to popsicle sticks and making them into puppets!

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This is another fun craft that both of my kids thoroughly enjoyed. 

Straw Monster Supplies:
plain paper
paint
water
old ice cube tray
spoon
straw
permanent black marker
googly eyes
glue

1. Mix the paint with water in equal parts.

2. Put a spoonful on your paper and blow with straw.  
3. Turn your paper as you blow, so it spreads out on all sides.

4. Let paper dry completely.

5. Glue googly eyes on your monsters.

6. Draw your face on your monster with a black permanent marker. 






Ben's favorite monster.

Bro's favorite monster. 

Thanks Danett!  Be sure to go over and visit her at Art Lovin!
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raising my ebenezer . part two.

You can read part one of my story by clicking HERE. 

So after the floor fell through in Spring of 2011 we collectively decided to take some time and collect ourselves.  Wait.  Listen for direction from God.  Live life without expectation for a while.  We honestly hoped for nothing for a while.  It was too scary to place stock in anything.  We buckled down and decided to enjoy ourselves, our family, wherever we were.  Painfully, I enrolled Moses in school for the coming year and we spent several months just living for the day.  Praying.  Waiting.  Walking through the tunnel in the dark, knowing there was an end, just having no idea where or when it would show up.  We still felt the pull for home and believed we would end up there, just nothing was making sense.  We put our house on the market for a bit to see how it would go.  It didn't go.  There were way too many foreclosures in our radius to do us any good.  There way no foreseeable way out anytime in the near future.

Hurts began to heal a bit.  God ministered to our hurting hearts.  Little did we know we were on our way out of the valley...but in such a slow pace that you couldn't really decipher the direction.

Looking back, God had never been closer to me.  I can remember a crystal clear moment when I learned the difference between feeling His (perceived) absence and Him being so close that I couldn't see Him.  Kind of like, if you stand an inch away from a Monet it looks like a mess but in reality it's an amazing masterpiece.

Despite my feelings about what God was doing through all of this, I never closed our lines of communication.  I've never been so diligent about reading my Bible every day.  I didn't want to miss a message or a word or a sliver of anything He wanted to tell me.  I clung to it like a lifeline.  And I learned some seriously awesome life long lessons.  I learned so much and felt His presence SO CLEARLY that in a weird way now, I miss the hard times.  We always need Him, but in our times of desperation we hold on to Him for dear life, we let down our guards and do what we have to do to be close to Him.  It's something that I find difficult to replicate on the normal days.  I still need Him, and love Him and desire what He has to teach me but it's hard to produce healthy desperation in times of calm.  It's a lot like when our kids are sick...we don't wish them sick, but we sure do love how they let us cuddle and snuggle with them when they are, right?  They need us to care for them and give them the things that they need to get well.  Then they go and get better and go on with life...running, leaping and driving us crazy.  Try to snuggle them then and you get away with it for about a second before they are wriggling free to go be healthy.  They still need us, just not with desperation.

Anyway, during one of those Bible reading/studying/desperate for a word/God feels sooooooo far away times, God explained something to me.  

He said:  Take a look in Exodus 33:22.  There it says "When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by."   A passage I had read a lot but never given much thought.  I always just pictured God saving Moses from God's own awesomeness. 

This was given to me during a particularly dark time.  I felt alone.  Like God was FARRRRR away from me.  I felt abandoned by Him, by friends, by people in general.  If you know me you noticed, or were effected.  It was ugly.  I was mad and hurting and those aren't the nicest people ever.  I felt unloved my almost everyone I knew.  It was maybe the darkest ever place I've been.

And God cracked the darkness with Exodus 33:22.  To me this spoke a speck of light into my life and was a turning point, a clearing of the final cobweb and the return to Joy.  This verse will always speak to me.  Now that I KNOW what it says, it can't not. 

It says: 
When my glory passes by = He is coming.  He is here.  A promise. 
I will put you in a cleft in the rock = He is protecting me.  He is keeping me safe.  With His physical self.  I am a priority to Him.  He cares enough to put me in a safe place.
And cover you with my hand = He will physically hold and touch you.  You will be in the dark because the creator of the Universe is covering you to keep you safe.  Do you think He would only sort of cover you?  Or would He completely cover you?  THAT kind of complete coverage would feel a lot like complete dark, no?
Until I have passed by. = You may not even fully know or understand just HOW close He was until He no longer is.  When the desperation ceases.  When we stop clinging to Him for everything. 

All of these things became clear and solid truths to me.  Like I said, in a way, I miss the hard times.  I'm fighting for desperation for Him but He has pulled us through so much and broken so many "rules" that there is no turning back...there is no such thing as coincidence.  There is no one who loves me more or truer.  He has used this time of darkness to stitch Himself into my heart forever.

I am a different person than I was two years ago.

Recently, we discovered that Moses' constant runny nose in the Fall and Spring was due to seasonal allergies.  We noticed that Moses just wasn't hearing us like he used to.  We would have to yell to get his attention.  And not in a "he's five" kind of way.  I was concerned enough to take him to the doctor.  It was maybe his 4th non-well child visit ever in his five years of life so it was a big deal.  I took him in, the doctor looked in his ears and told us that one ear was completely full of drainage from his nose, the other ear partially full.  It was like he was hearing us from underwater.  We got him some prescriptions and we know he needs them every Fall and Spring.  His hearing now is as good as new.  Except for the "he's five" part.

My life before these last two years was a lot like hearing from underwater.  Since I recognizing I had an issue, going to the healer, and doing what he prescribes, my hearing is as good as new, too. 

Stay tuned for part three.
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40 ideas! - Number 3 - Melted Crayon Art

Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com! 

Have you melted any crayons lately?  Seen this activity and let it be too intimidating to you? 
All you need is a canvas...you choice of size, hot glue, a blow dryer and CRAYOLA crayons!
Line up your crayons and hot glue them into place!  While we did this, the boys talked about colors and rainbow order and different shades of different colors!  We talked about how amazing God's work is...so detailed and spectacular.  I told the boys the colors I needed and they loved to hunt through the pile to find them.  
While they are all lined up take some pretty photos of them...


And when you are done with that...start up the hair dryer.  Depending on the age of your kids they may or may not be able to handle this part but with a little direction (and a nice big drop cloth!!) they can do it!  I found that a mid setting worked best!  You can talk about solids and liquids while you are at it!  Maybe watch a video on how crayons are made!
My boys LOVED to see the changes and once it was cool they thought it was awesome to touch it too!

Have fun!

Wanna cool off from all that heat?  Try this fun COLD activity next!
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40 ideas - Number 2 - Messy Fun Art

 Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com! 

Today's activity comes from Katie at Explanation Required!    I LOVE this and will be doing it with my boys once we find the perfect quote!

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Summer is usually filled with kids constantly whining that they're bored and have nothing to do. It can sometimes be hard to come up with ideas to keep them occupied, which is why Crystal's series is so awesome! A few years ago my then toddler daughter and I spent an afternoon making a messy masterpiece together and I thought others might want to make some with their little (or big) kids too. Etsy is full of great pieces that can either purchased if you're not feeling particularly painterly, or can used as inspiration for a piece of your own. This "If it's not messy it's not fun" print seemed like the perfect saying for a kid's room and I decided to DIY a version that fit better in my daughter's space and would allow her to take part in a creative project. This is what we came up with: I love everything about it - the phrase, the colors, the fact that Charlotte made it, everything!! If you want to make something similar yourself, you'll need very few supplies: just a canvas, stickers and some acrylic paint. I'd initially planned to lay down black stickers, figuring it'd be easier for me to get things lined up right, but I misplaced them and had to use white. I think this was a happy accident since Charlotte didn't realize the stickers were there and so didn't mess with them. Just place those stickers on the canvas in whatever phrase or design works for you! (How cute would it be to do this with the whole alphabet?!) Then, with a single color at a time, let your kid go to town. We chose to use three colors - a light and dark shade of blue and a green. If you stick with analogous colors (close on the color wheel) like we did you don't need to wait long between coats. We actually didn't wait at all (you try to keep a 2 year old from continuing to paint!). If you choose complementary colors (opposite on the color wheel) you'll need to let the canvas dry completely between coats, otherwise you'll end up with a muddy brown mess.


Give the canvas just a bit of time to dry (I found that the 5 or so minutes it took to clean up Charlotte and the space was plenty) and then carefully peel off your stickers. The paint will likely have bled underneath some, but I think that's perfectly fine given the quote we used. If you aren't a fan of the messy lines you could always go back with white paint and a brush and neaten things up. Or you could take an extra step before painting and brush a thin layer of white paint over your stickers and then add the color - that way the only color that could possibly bleed underneath would be white. Then just marvel at your little virtuoso's work.


Delightful right?!

Thanks Katie!! I can't wait to make one!!  And be sure to go visit Katie at Explanation Required!

When you're done making art...be sure to whip up some Rainbow Pudding Pops, too! :) 


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40 Ideas! Number 1-Dino Fossils!

Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com!   

Our first activity is dino fossils!!  I had no idea the boys would like these so much!  First we read "How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum".  Then I told the boys we were going to make our OWN dino fossils!  They were stoked!!
All you need is an air dry clay of some sort.  I used Crayola Air Dry Clay and I got it from Jo-ann.  There are several varieties of kid safe clay that you could use, I just had this on hand.

You also need a variety of small dinosaurs.  These were in our collection and were about 2in long.  
 These were simple and fun and got a huge reaction from my boys!  Here's how you do it...
Take a chunk of clay and roll it and knead it into an egg shaped ball and flatten it.  
I then put the "egg" on the lid of the clay container and let Moses gently put the dino into the clay. 
We pushed them in about half way...
Then pulled them out gently...by the tail worked best!
And voila! You have a fossil!  If your kids are old enough you can let them paint them when the clay dries.  
We made a bunch and the boys like to play a matching game by matching the dinos up with their fossils. 

Have fun!  And come back soon to see all the rest of the wonderful things you can try!

Until then you can have a "mini art lesson" or "paint with pudding" or "go crazy with shaving cream"!
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the $10 coffee table.


 
Most people getting ready to move do things like pack, sort and clean.  Me?  What better time to start and finish projects, right?
We've been searching for a coffee table for some time.  We wanted cheap, real wood and a certain shape.  Hello yard sale find from a sweet old lady for $10.  It was in pretty good shape.  Normal people would have taken it home, polished it and called it a day.  But we had a vision. 
I wanted the top to look like a vintage sign.  Doug had the idea to add our last name.  I googled some inspiration, settled on a color and there we go.  (Spray paint was Rustoleum red- not sure of the name).     
I printed out my stencil and cut them out.  I used "Poster Script" and "Arial Black".  
I primed and painted.  
I traced the stencils after measuring for placement.  
I got this far the first night...
...then added a few more details the next day.
When it was dry, I gave it a good sanding to age it.  
And then I loved it forever. :) 
Just an FYI.  You may notice that if you sand over white words they will pick up some of the color they are painted on...in this case, my letters turned pink.  I just went over the letters with a magic eraser and it got them back to white and I was still able to sand them the way I wanted them. 
Love. 








The best part is that the boys can't hurt it.  Win.  Win.  Win. 

I love a good makeover. 
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